(The Green) Arrow Takes Dead Aim at Fall TV

That Hollywood studios prefer the safety and bankability of familiar properties is far from secret. And who can blame them? Films and TV shows are risky undertakings and last I checked no one actually wants to lose their shirt or their job.

So with each year a new wave of road-tested material is rolled out with fresh polish and high hopes that the fans will find traction. Sometimes it works really well (after 74 years Warner flies the Batman colors stronger than ever) and sometimes it doesn’t (80 years of John Carter history couldn’t mitigate a record-breaking disaster for Disney in 2012).

CW's Arrow 2012. Cool poster! Yawn.

CW’s Arrow 2012. Cool poster! Yawn.

Now square in our sites is Arrow, CW’s new action hero drama and their latest bet in the adaptation parade. Bearing in mind that prime time television doesn’t have the smoothest record pushing crime-fighting comic types (2011’s The Cape, anyone?), this is clearly an unsteady perch to target. So what might make Arrow succeed where others like it have failed?

Despite decades of history, this is essentially a first at bat. Based on DC Comic’s character Green Arrow, the show represents the first time to screen for a well known title that dates back to 1941. Sure there’s been plenty of ink spilled in comic books over those 70 years, but no previous films to draw comparisons or churn expectations.

They’ve assembled a badass cast. Never mind Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy. Both actors are capable and attractive and should easily provide strong anchor to the show’s sexy lead characters. But what will really draw and keep attention on Arrow is John Barrowman (BBC’s Torchwood), a recent addition to the show’s cast and a coupe for the show’s prospects.

The pilot’s got all the right moves. I saw the show’s hour-long pilot at SDCC and I have to say I was impressed. Of course there were some clichés to contend with but happily the show moved quickly and defied predictability. And the story that’s been framed for the remainder of the season looks compelling: playboy was presumed dead after boat crash, playboy was really alive and learning untold asskickery on a barren island, playboy returns home to unleash asskickery on his city’s corrupt power structure.

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the extended trailer: